Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy New Year!


From July 1-3, the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan celebrated the Anadikia.   There were five of us present for this amazing retreat.

For those who weren't able to attend, you were remembered throughout the weekend.  Hope you'll be able to come for a festival soon!

As Hieros Timotheos wrote on the top of the weekend's schedule of events, “Anadikia translates to 'renewal of action.' It is based on the ending of the lunar year and the beginning of a new lunar year. HTAZP has developed an annual retreat to celebrate this observance.” The lunar year starts on the first New Moon after the Summer Solstice. Thus the celebration is very similar to the monthly Noumenia (and in fact is sometimes called the “Great Noumenia”) but on a much larger scale. As a three-day retreat, this translates into one day for Hekate's Deipnon, one for Noumenia, and one for the Agathos Daimon.

Friday evening began with us gathering at the temple space and settling in. Then at about 10 pm, we held the Deipnon ceremony to Hekate and the Ancestors. Timotheos taught us a way to cleanse the home for Deipnon, and then we proceeded into the Temple space proper, where there were offerings of food and ribbons for the Ancestors, accompanied by sharing memories of some of those Ancestors. It was incredibly moving and intense. Then offerings were made to Hekate, including canned goods to be given to the homeless over whom She watches as Goddess of the crossroads.

Hekate's shrine, the Agathos Daimon's shrine, and Ancestor shrine.

Once this incredibly intense ritual completed (two minutes before midnight, and finishing before midnight had been an important component), we adjourned to feast and play cards, which is a modern Greek New Year's tradition.
At about 1am, we wrapped that up and did a Diisoteria ritual to dedicate a new Hestia statue and to thank our personal patrons, the Temple patrons, and any other Deities who had bestowed blessings on us over the past year. In the tradition of a side shrine for “foreign Gods,” there was also space set aside for recognition of Deities those of us on dual paths belong to.

After the Diisoteria.
Saturday morning began with ritual purification baths as we got up.  After that and a bit of breakfast, we began cleansing the various statues and icons in the Temple. As Timotheos said, this is when you realize just how many statues and images of various sorts are in the Temple.

After the Temple cleansing.

Once all of the statues, pictures, sculptures, and other images had been cleansed and returned to their places in the Temple (or a reasonable facsimile thereof, some most certainly found slightly new homes), we made libations to the Gods, offered them Greek New Year's cake, and an amazing ham rigatoni bake.

The cake is called Vaselopita, and it is amazingly delicious. Here's the recipe:


1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
6 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm milk
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
1 Tbsp white sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and generously grease 10 inch round baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light.
  3. Stir in flour and mix until mixture is mealy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine baking powder and milk and add to mixture.
  6. Combine lemon juice and baking soda and pour into batter.
  7. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and sprinkle nuts over the top.
  8. Return to oven for 20-30 minutes until cake springs back to the touch.
  9. Gently cut a small hole in the center place a quarter in the hole. Cover it with sugar.
  10. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto plate.

Whoever gets the quarter, by the way, is supposed to have good luck for the coming year.

Between the emotional and energetic impact of cleansing all the icons, we were all very much in a space of needing to just rest and process. All of us ended up taking naps, even those who'd planned to just quietly read for awhile, and some of us did our processing through rather vivid dreams.

When we regrouped a couple of hours later, we set a plan to finish the Temple cleansing, then have dinner and watch a movie.

Somehow (and I guess that would be this week's edition of "The Hieros of Cranston"), "watching a movie" translated into a mini-marathon of cat videos, including The Cat vs the Cactus, Kitty Is a Very BAD Mystic, and Cat vs Printer - The Translation. In an attempt to, if not be more serious, at least watch something a bit longer, we moved on to John Cleese's How to Irritate People.

Sunday, we made ritual offerings to the Temple's Agathos Daimon as well as our personal Agathos Daimons and any other guiding and guardian spirits in each of our lives.  We shared a brunch with the Agathos Daimon and these other spirits outdoors.  After spending some more time in fellowship, we closed the weekend in the Temple space and dispersed. 

All in all, it was a wonderful and very intense weekend.  Again, those of you who weren't able to attend were remembered throughout, and we hope you'll be able to come sometime in the near future!

May the Gods' blessings be with you all.